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Anti-doping education back in sharp focus for GAA after latest failed test

Colm Keys


Mandatory certificate system first proposed by Duffy has much merit after latest ban

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Ray Walker started all four of Carlow’s league games this spring. Photo: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

Ray Walker started all four of Carlow’s league games this spring. Photo: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

Ray Walker started all four of Carlow’s league games this spring. Photo: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

In his final annual report as GAA director-general to 2018 Congress, Páraic Duffy floated the idea of a system whereby a player would be prohibited from playing for his county until he has certification that he has completed an acceptable anti-doping programme.

Duffy's comments focused on improved education in the wake of the case of Kerry footballer Brendan O'Sullivan who had served a 21-week ban, in two phases, after his decision to appeal his case for inadvertently taking a banned substance in a caffeine supplement which he had sourced himself.

At the time of their report Sport Ireland, who oversee testing, were critical of education relating to GAA players, noting "confusion" over the flow of information to the player who, they determined, bore "no significant fault or negligence." Duffy felt the "fluctuating composition" of inter-county panels made it a matter to be "addressed urgently" by the Association.